|Christianity is not in Crisis ?|
Mat 25:31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
In the Newsweek magazine, the blogger Andrew Sullivan declared "Christianity in Crisis" - "Christianity has been destroyed by politics, priests, and get-rich evangelists. Ignore them, writes Andrew Sullivan, and embrace Him." It is a challenge to all Christians to re-examine their faith and duty as Christians when the church seems to have been influenced by the world culture and attitudes.
The Rev Rick Warren, in response called the article "insulting." "Is that the best you can do??" in his tweeter response. Clearly Andrew Sullivan's notion of Christianity is narrow based on Social Justice and freedom from oppression, and gave little weight to the expansion of the Kingdom of God in the preaching of the Gospel message over the last 2000 years, and especially in the last 200 years. What else can one expect from a gay liberal christian? The greatest oppression is not of power or wealth but religious oppression by people of faith. Jesus greatest angst was against the Pharisees, the keepers of faith.
Andrew Sullivan was particularly impressed by Thomas Jefferson whom he admired as proclaiming a separation of religion and the state, and based on mere humanity without any supernatural claims, ie Jesus did not rise again. However, without Jesus rising again, there would not be the church. It would not have started beyond a small Jewish sect. Without the supernatural experiences of Paul in the Road of Damascus, again the church would not have gone further than Israel. It was the supernatural power of God that led to the spread of Christianity through the acts of powerful miracles to give credence to the Gospel message.
Thomas Jefferson was a Freemason, who deems enlightenment through religious freedom - freedom not to abide by the love commandments per say as Sullivan alleged, but religious freedom, for the Freemasons were in conflict with the church as it was a sect deep in religious and supernatural rituals. To associate Jefferson with "embracing Jesus" is a corruption of history and as Rick Warren said rather insulting.
Andrew claimed that the "crisis of Christianity" led to Secularism and atheism - to have religious space. This is again a strange assertion, for prosperity theology for example didn't lead to secularism, rather it is the church embracing a common secular concern of "not enough money" within the wider community. The church entry into politics is to reclaim its influence which it had since the 4th century AD. How is the country "secular", when most have a religious faith.
Jesus was not praticularly "secular". He said that those who did not believed in Him was already condemned because the basis of judgement was not on compliance of religious laws, or how much more moral we are over gays, but of faith in Jesus Christ. The Kingdom of God is the Kingdom within our hearts, because there in lies in whom we have faith in. It is not ourselves or our humanity but Christ that we might transcend our humanity into a "new creation" and one day, a new heaven. He lived simply, to emphasise the point that His kingdom is supernatural and not of this world, but in heaven.
What is the church anyway? The Catholic Faith is 1.2 billion strong and the "other Christians" just 1 billion. Therefore, Catholics are the substantial majority and the idea by Andrew that the entry into politics and the get rich evangelist by the evangelical right is destructive is not entirely true in respect to the entire church which is much bigger. A few Catholic priests also ain't gonna undermine the church.
The Great Commandment of Jesus is for us to go to the nations to preach the Gospel of redemption concerning Christ, His death and resurrection for our sins. It is clearly not enough to be aligned with Jesus in the general notion of love and kindom relationships, or to see Christianity as a blessing of wealth for the greatest blessing is eternal life. Jesus said that the poor is blessed not that they were poor rather in their humility and nothingness, they are able to see God incarnate in Christ. Jesus didn't promised them freedom from the Romans either or a get rich scheme.
It is ironic that the most religiously polarised nation on Earth is Nigeria with equal adherants of Christians and Muslims, yet their largest export is "theft" through schemes to cheat people through the email initiated plots of get rich schemes. Christianity is not about the faith you were born in, nor one of the many faiths leading to God. Rather Christianity is about our heart, and not pious religious actions per say. Is our heart of faith in God's grace? and the hope that one day we will be in heaven because of Jesus Christ. We have either focused on the Love commandments or on the other end, prosperity rather than extending the Kingdom of God in the hearts of many that Christ may reign in their lives. We are too concerned with the Kingdom and the Kindom on earth.
Andrew was clearly wrong to generalise that the Christianity has been destroyed by the entry into politics, the sexual abuse by priests and the prosperity theology. Rather Christianity was already no longer a bilbical Christ based faith since the 4th century AD when it was consumed into the Roman State. Hence, the consideration of power, wealth, and control became paramount rather than the Gospel. The Kingdom of God became the Kingdom of God on earth rather than in heaven. It is not as if the notion of the separation of the State and the Religion is the answer, because the Roman State was highly religious and the Ceaser the bridgehead between God and man with the title Pontifus Maximus. When Christianity took over, they just changed the head, and the Pope became the head.
Yet, the the bible promises that the Kingdom of darkness shall never overcome the church because although the church may be built on Peter a carnal man, but within the church hierachal, God will raise up a people whom Christ is the rock rather than Peter who was the head of the church.
Mat 13:24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. 27 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ 29 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”
Even though there is darkness, a mixing between the goats and the sheep, it may be what God intended. The truth was that Christianity based on a commnual sharing in the bible never laster too long. Modern attempts by the Charismatic Jesus people also failed despite valiant attempts to be like Jesus. The Communist approach against Christianity led to a strong backlash in Poland leading to the rise of the Catholic Right in John Paul II, and Ratzinger and Opus Dei.
Without the Church in Crisis, without the church being fallen, Christianity would not have spread. The supremacy of Rome universal, and later its control of Europe and the colonialist meant Christianity spread throughout the known world in a natural manners as the Industrial powers extended their reach.
Satan has planted weeds into the church. Yet, God let both of it grow because in order to get rid of the weeds in the church, we will also likely to undermine the faith of many in Jesus Christ. The root of the weed is not the small branches of prosperity theology or sexual abuses by priests, or involvement into politics, but the Church existence has been transformed from the simplicity of Christ and the preaching of the Gospel into the maintenance of power and wealth of the hierachal church, ie the church and its existence is worshipped instead of Jesus. It is based on carnal man, rather than Jesus.
As a result, we can't just ignore the church as Andrew Sullivan has suggested, because it is the world's political power and world's most powerful hierachy with a massive wealth that once owned 2/3 of Europe. Yet, the church is the way that God has mandated for the Gospel to spread and with all its faults and ambiguities, surely God didn't destroy the church but fanned the flames of revival from within the church in the Protestant Reformation of Salvation alone by faith, and in the start of the 20th century, the Charismatic revival.
What is the move of God in the 21st century within the church? not to transform it in its entirety which is rotten in its core, but to bring a people out who understands His love, grace and mercy and who would worship Jesus rather than the saints, wealth, or power or even worship humanity itself where sin is perpetuating power structures rather than not believing in Christ redemptive purpose. We have created a church hierachal on earth, but the real power structures is a heavenly one.
God is looking at our hearts. The kingdom of God is within because it resides within our hearts when we choose to give it all to Jesus. God is bringing the church into grace, to see people in His eyes rather than judge others by religious laws. The debate about gay marriage and gays is ultimately about changing the church to break its legalistic mindset, and the powerful hierachal structures. God is doing a change in the church that our hearts may be turned to God. What is God doing in your heart today?
Jesus is not here today, and so we can't follow Him like the disciples did even if we wanted to. He left us the Holy Spirit of God which we have taken for granted since we say He is everywhere like the air. Yet, the Holy Spirit is like the wind. The Holy Spirit is moving in very specific areas and places eg gay rights, and like the wind, we would not know where He will carry us. We are called to be people of faith to step out of the boat, into the water and the raging storms of life. There, we will find our life again when we loose it to Christ.
Where Christ is, there is liberty and freedom.